2012 Record: 10 – 6 (1st in Division)
General Manager: Ozzie Newsome
Head Coach: John Harbaugh
Offensive Coordinator: Jim Caldwell
Defensive Coordinator: Dean Pees
Special Teams Coach: Jerry Rosburg
Overview: Ladies and gentlemen, your reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens. Super Bowl Champions pretty much explains the Ravens 2012 season, but they weren’t a typical 14-2 Super Bowl team. The Ravens had their ups and downs just like all other teams. The difference is they got hot in the playoffs and rode that to a Super Bowl victory. This team looks like a Super Bowl team on both sides of the ball. Though their defense was aging, they replaced the athleticism of youth with the knowledge of seasoned veterans.
Offense: Total Offense (16th), Passing (15th), Rushing (10th), and Scoring (12th).
After reviewing the Ravens offensive statistics I was surprised by how pedestrian their numbers were. Flacco posted middle of the road numbers (22 TDs, 10 INTs, 3,817 Yards, 87.7 RTG), but then again the Ravens offense is not meant to be the same thing as the Patriots. The Ravens have a nice balanced attack on offense thanks to Ray Rice on the ground, and allowing Joe Flacco to get the ball to his playmakers in Boldin, Smith, and Pitta. Along the offensive line the Ravens are pretty soild. McKinnie, Birk, Yanda, and Oher are all solid veterans who provided a solid foundation up front. Left guard Kelechi Osemele was a rookie last season, but played very well. He had his ups and downs, but with a veteran line he is coming into his own. Overall the Ravens a solid on the offensive side of the ball, but no one will confuse them for a team like “The Greatest Show On Turf”.
Defense: Total Yards (16th), Passing (16th), Rushing (13th), and Sacks (15th).
Growing up in the prime of the Ray Lewis and Ed Reed era in Baltimore, I may be a little biased but the Ravens defense is always good. They aren’t always great, but they are always good. When you have future Hall of Fame players on your team for a decade straight you will be good. The Ravens were also middle of the road this year statistically, but what won them a Super Bowl was the timing of the plays they made. Even though the Ravens were banged up this year players like Darnell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, and Cary Williams stepped up and filled the void.
Special Teams: Field Goals (T – 7th), Kick Returns 1st), and Punting (1st).
Special Teams was outrageously good for the Ravens this season. Rookie Justin Tucker was spectacular kicking the ball. The most impressive feature about Tucker is that he made the plays when his number was called. When Tucker attempted that fake kick in the Super Bowl I was online looking to purchase a Tucker jersey. Sam Koch lead the league with his punting. A good punter can change the field position game, and the game overall. I’m not even going to talk about Jacoby Jones because he spoke for himself during the Super Bowl.
2012 Off-season Impact:
Key Acquisitions: WR/KR Jacoby Jones, G Bobbie Williams, G/C Tony Wragge, DT Ryan McBean, CB Corey Graham.
Key Losses: WR Lee Evans, G Ben Grubbs, DE/DT Cory Redding, NT Brandon McKinney, DE/OLB Jarret Johnson, CB Chris Carr, SS Tom Zbikowski, S Haruki Nakamura.
Round 2, Pick 60: Kelechi Osemele, OT/OG, Iowa State
Round 3, Pick 84: Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
Round 4, Pick 98: Gino Gradkowski, OG/C, Delaware
Round 4, Pick 130: Christian Thompson, FS, South Carolina
Round 5, Pick 169: Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly
Round 6, Pick 198: Tommy Streeter, WR, Miami
Round 7, Pick 236: DeAngelo Tyson, DE, Georgia
The 2012 off-season for the Ravens was one of key additions as well as some losses. The obvious addition was Jacoby Jones. He made a huge impact on not only special teams, but on the offensive side of the ball as well. Corey Graham also served a valuable role as a nickel and backup corner. The losses that hurt were Ben Grubbs, Cory Redding, and Tom Zbikowski. Grubbs wasn’t a huge loss because of the selection of Osemele, but Redding was a veteran in the middle and Zbikowski was effective on defense and special teams. In the Draft the Ravens found some contributors in Upshaw, Osemele, Pierce, and Streeter. All of these second year guys could make a name for themselves after 2013 off-season losses.
Key Acquisitions: DE/OLB Elvis Dumervil, S Michael Huff, LB Rolando McClain, DE/DT Marcus Spears, and DE/DT Chris Canty.
Key Losses: WR Anquan Boldin QB Dennis Dixon, C Matt Birk, DE/OLB Paul Kruger, LB Darnell Ellerbe, S Bernard Pollard, S Ed Reed, LB Ray Lewis, and LB Rolando McClain.
Round 1, Pick 32: Matt Elam, S, Florida
Round 2, Pick 56: Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State
Round 3, Pick 94: Brandon Williams, NT, Missouri Southern State
Round 4, Pick 129: John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Round 4, Pick 130: Kyle Juszczyk, FB, Harvard
Round 5, Pick 168: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Round 6, Pick 200: Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE, Notre Dame
Round 6, Pick 203: Ryan Jensen, OT, Colorado State-Pueblo
Round 7, Pick 238: Aaron Mellette, WR, Elon
Round 7, Pick 247: Marc Anthony, CB, California
In the beginning of the 2013 off-season the Ravens looked like a train wreck with so many players leaving and none coming in. Don’t fret Ravens fans, Ozzie took care of business as usual. Losing Hall of Fame players in Ed Reed and Ray Lewis really hurt the Ravens and their fans, but Ozzie may have drafted perfect replacements. I’m not saying Matt Elam and Arthur Brown will be Reed and Lewis, but they are both very good players and could be franchise players down the road. Brown was also a great selection because the Miami Dolphins poached their potential Ray Lewis replacement in Darnell Ellerbe. Initially the Ellerbe problem was solved by Rolando McClain, but after another run in with the police he decided to retire at the age of 23. This off-season was a wild ride for Ravens fans.
With the subtractions the Ravens had this off season they probably shouldn’t be top-5 in my rankings, but they are the reigning Super Bowl Champions and they could hit a hot streak in the playoffs again. On both sides of the ball the Ravens have down graded (at least on paper), but who knows what their rookies will do. The Ravens are a solid all around team, but their special teams keeps them afloat in some games getting them clutch wins. The Ravens should win the division again this year.
Will the Ravens repeat? Probably not. Will they be a contender? Probably. I’m not the guy who will go game by game to check off a win or loss at this point. The objective is to win every game and that is what the Ravens will try to do. On the cannon arm that is Joe Flacco, the clutch kicking of Justin Tucker, a defense with some new faces, and the stout running game that is Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce the Ravens will make a push for the playoffs and then the Super Bowl repeat. Who wouldn’t love to see another HarBowl?